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iLoud MTM monitors (balanced XLR) to Topping e30 DAC (unbalanced RCA); possible?

Vict0r

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Hey guys,

I've recently acquired a pair of iLoud MTM's. I do not record music but just want to use them as desktop media speakers.

It seems I didn't quite think this through before ramming on the BUY NOW buttons. :p The MTM have balanced XLR or TRS inputs. I only have an unbalanced Topping e30 DAC with RCA out. Is there a way to make this work without introducing noise/hum or sacrificing fidelity? Or should I sell my e30 and get an audio interface with balanced outputs?

1. which cable or adapter would I need to hook up the MTM to my e30? Is there a difference in the quality of these cables?
I've seen RCA-to-XLR cables, as well as Neutrik female-RCA-to-male-XLR adapters.

2. if balanced-to-unbalanced isn't advisable, which audio interface would I need? Is there an affordable option? I've seen the Behringer UMC404HD, but it seems these don't have true, differential balanced outputs. The Focusrite 2i2 seems decent too, but is USB powered. Not sure if this matters for an audio interface.

61bCnARfDIL._AC_SL1400_.jpg


image-2.jpg

1469621112Procab_CLA701_150cm_1.jpg
 
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puppet

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I'd try it first. Buy or make-up the proper un-balanced to balanced cables. Typically, noise is produced when a mismatch of input levels exist, raising the noise floor. These speakers look to be compatible with either +4dBu or -10dBV.
 

sweetchaos

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I'm currently using Genelec 8040's with XLR cable going to RCA cable to Topping E30, for mid-field setup, then an optical cable going to TV.
I don't have any issues with hiss, buzz, etc.

I decided not to purchase the cheap, generic cables from amazon, since I don't know their wiring structure.

I purchased a properly shielded/wired XLR to RCA cables from Ghent Audio.
rca-xlr.png


Other manufacturers that make properly shielded/wired XLR to RCA cables are:
1. Benchmark
2. March Audio

I've heard that Monoprice's XLR to RCA cables also work.
 
OP
Vict0r

Vict0r

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I'm currently using Genelec 8040's with XLR cable going to RCA cable to Topping E30, for mid-field setup, then an optical cable going to TV.
I don't have any issues with hiss, buzz, etc.

I decided not to purchase the cheap, generic cables from amazon, since I don't know their wiring structure.

I purchased a properly shielded/wired XLR to RCA cables from Ghent Audio.

What would be the benefit of the A15 cables?
 
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sweetchaos

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What would be the be the benefit of the A15 cables?
You mean over another Ghent Audio cable, like the A05?
-More expensive, so I figured it's a bit better overall.
-Better cable "Canare L-4E6S Star Quad", meaning it has exceptional RFI and EMI protection, a bit better than A05
-Connectors, these look more professional than A05
-Non-braided cable, which I liked more than A05's braided cable
-The cable is very flexible, which was a requirement for me, over A05's stiffer looking cable

Overall, I really liked what Ghent has created with the A15, so I purchased them. When I received them (took about a month I believe), I was surprised at their build quality. In terms of sound quality, I don't hear any RFI or EMI leakage, just crystal clear sound. Overall, 100% satisfied customer.

If you mean compared to other vendors, like Monoprice, then the Monoprice XLR to RCA cable looks cheap in my opinion (even if it's wired properly).
In the past, I bought several other Monoprice cables, and I found their cables to be very stiff overall, which make it very difficult to position them.

Overall, with my Genelec's, I didn't want to spend US$16 on cheaper cables like the Monoprice, when Ghent Audio's cable were double the cost (haha, not much), but looked much more professional. It was a no brainer. ;)
 
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Vict0r

Vict0r

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You mean over another Ghent Audio cable, like the A05?

Makes sense, I suppose. I wish I saw your reply earlier, though. I have some ProCab xlr-rca cable coming in today. They seem decent enough but I have no idea how they're wired. I'll give these a shot and if they don't work out I could try the Ghent ones.

I'm also contemplating just selling my Topping e30 and getting a Motu M4 to use its balanced output. I mean, nice cables are nice, but the Motu has flashy lights and spiffy meters and we all know flashy lights improve the creamy mids and holographic soundstage. :p
 

sweetchaos

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Makes sense, I suppose. I wish I saw your reply earlier, though. I have some ProCab xlr-rca cable coming in today. They seem decent enough but I have no idea how they're wired. I'll give these a shot and if they don't work out I could try the Ghent ones.

I'm also contemplating just selling my Topping e30 and getting a Motu M4 to use its balanced output. I mean, nice cables are nice, but the Motu has flashy lights and spiffy meters and we all know flashy lights improve the creamy mids and holographic soundstage. :p
I didn't want to overspend on a DAC as I just needed a good DAC with a remote and optical input to connect to the TV. Topping E30 fit the description. Back then, I just purchased the Genelecs. So you know, I was trying to maximize my budget towards the speakers, where it matters.

Honestly, I don't even know if going to fully balanced will make a big difference in my setup, as it already sounds AMAZING! :D
 
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Vict0r

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I didn't want to overspend on a DAC as I just needed a good DAC with a remote and optical input to connect to the TV. Topping E30 fit the description. Back then, I just purchased the Genelecs. So you know, I was trying to maximize my budget towards the speakers, where it matters.

Honestly, I don't even know if going to fully balanced will make a big difference in my setup, as it already sounds AMAZING! :D

So you're using the e30's preamp mode to control the volume on the Genelecs? I still have to figure out a way to properly control the MTM's volume when using them with my Windows pc. I read that internal volume control works but only in pretty sudden increments, and since the monitors don't have a volume control people seem to be adding hardware volume controllers in the chain.
 

sweetchaos

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So you're using the e30's preamp mode to control the volume on the Genelecs?
Yep.
When connected to my TV using optical cable, the TV's remote can no longer control the volume, so I'm forced to use the Topping remote whether I like it or not. So yes, I had to use the Topping E30's preamp mode, since the direct DAC mode won't work for me, since I wouldn't be able to control the volume in this case.

How about something like the Mackie Big Knob?
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...ig-knob-passive-2x2-studio-monitor-controller
US$70 and it has balanced inputs/outputs.

Manual:
https://mackie.com/sites/default/fi...ANUALS/Owners_Manuals/Big_Knob_Passive_OM.pdf
 
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Vict0r

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I saw that one! Looked at some other controllers too. Things is, my e30 + a Mackie Big Knob + extra set of cables (adding the Mackie would require more TRS cables) would equal almost the same money I could use for something like a Motu M2, which would be an all in one solution. And when I'm considering a M2, it would only about $60 more for an M4. :D

This is why this hobby keeps costing me money. It escalates. :p
 

puppet

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I'm not a fan of line level attenuation pre DSP processing. Most DSP's want to be saturated to keep the noise floor low. That "volume" knob on the iloud is it's amplifier gain most likely. Alternatively, it may control gain post processing/pre amplification. Either way, it's most certainly post DSP processing. Ideally you'll want to use that for gain control.
 
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Vict0r

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I'm not a fan of line level attenuation pre DSP processing. Most DSP's want to be saturated to keep the noise floor low. That "volume" knob on the iloud is it's amplifier gain most likely. Alternatively, it may control gain post processing/pre amplification. Either way, it's most certainly post DSP processing. Ideally you'll want to use that for gain control.

It's input gain control (that's supposedly better left smack dab in the middle) so I don't think there's a way to adjust volume after DSP.
 

puppet

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Input to the onboard amp (post DSP) or pre DSP? Their specs don't cover this.
 
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Vict0r

Vict0r

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Input to the onboard amp (post DSP) or pre DSP? Their specs don't cover this.

The wheel on the back attenuates the input gain from -12db to 0db. Even at its lowest position, you'll still hear sound playing through the speakers.
 

Berwhale

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I use MTMs with a D50s/A50s unbalanced stack. I made my own cables because I wanted right angled plugs that routed downwards neatly from the monitors on my desk (I did the same for power)...

20201215_221449 (1) (Small).jpg


I made the cable by cutting a 4m Right Angled Stereo TRS 1/4" Jack Lead - Re'an, Black: Amazon.co.uk: Musical Instruments in half and soldering on RCA plugs liberated from an old QED cable I had lying around.

There is the potential for ground loops when connecting the MTMs in this way (the MTMs have a safety ground connection). I encoutered this myself and had to puchase a cheap USB isolator to break the loop between my PC and MTMs.

Nobsound USB to USB Isolator Module Audio Noise: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
 
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